New guidelines that confirm current police media arrangements have been welcomed by the Association of Police Communicators.
Following a period of extensive consultation, the College of Policing has published the updated Media Relations Authorised Professional Practice (APP) today (Thursday 15 June). It formalises the approach that police forces have taken for months and in some cases years.
The APP provides clear principles to continue to have professional working relationships between the police service and the media. It aims to ensure police services are open and accountable but also to reassure victims and witnesses that their information will be carefully handled.
APComm Chair Amanda Coleman said: “Effective relationships with the media are essential to policing and our members work tirelessly to develop professional working arrangements. The principles within APP are commonsense and reflect how a lot of police communicators have been working for some time.
“The role of the police communicator is incredibly challenging and needs to balance the needs of the Force, investigations, the victims and witnesses as well as the media. We also need to recognise the impact on those who may be under investigation, and possibly not convicted, when information becomes public.
“Those undertaking the role must demonstrate the highest professional and ethical standards on a daily basis. All of this must also be balanced with recognition of the very real public interest in police investigations.
“Strong professional relationships between journalists and police officers are important and encouraged in the guidance. Officers of all rank can talk publicly and openly about the work they are involved in. It helps criminals to be brought to justice and increases people’s awareness of policing.
“I hope that all APComm members can now continue to develop positive working relationships between policing and the media.”
The APP is aimed at everybody working in policing and can be found on the College of Policing website.